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Erin Van Ness writesA Little Stocking Stuffer from CHIRP

In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, don’t forget the music!

When you click through our Insound affiliate links, CHIRP gets a percentage of the proceeds. Not only that, you can also receive a 10% discount on your purchase, perfect for last minute gifts and New Year surprises. Just visit and use coupon code holidaycheer10 before January 5, 2012.

Insound is an online multimedia record shop that stocks a medley of LPs, CD’s, DVD’s, record players, downloads, and other fabulous audible accompaniments. Insound also carries a limited edition of You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984, which includes a rare track LP, DVD, and a double-sided newsprint poster – a perfect gift for the little punk rock heart in all of us.

Forget the carols, turn up your speakers and support CHIRP! But remember, this offer expires January 5. Visit before the season ends!

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

James Waiter writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2011 (Jim Waiter)

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2011. The next list is from Jim Waiter.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members’ picks.)

  • James Blake – James Blake (Universal Republic)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    James Blake’s self-titled debut is both inventive and original. Blake sings in a warm, soulful style, over glitchy experimental electronic stuttering, stop-start, beats. It’s hard to describe, but a very rewarding listen. For a taste, listen to “Unlucky.”
  • Atlas Sound – Parallax (4AD)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox latest solo album, under the Atlas Sound guise, has a pleasant, otherwordly quality. These a well constructed pop songs that are guided and lifted by some quality studio engineering. “My Angel Is Broken” hits me perfect.
  • Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome (Capitol)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Producer-composer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi team up to produce a soundrack that rivals classic ’60s and ’70s Ennio Morricone scores. Features guest vocals from Norah Jones and The White Stripes’ Jack White. Check out “The Rose With A Broken Neck.”
  • Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow (Fish People)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Kate Bush has been producing wonderful art rock since the seventies. On this album, she whispers seductively over her beautiful and gentle piano pieces. 50 Words Fr Snow, her first release since 2005, is delicate and ethereal, perfect to take in next to a fire while the snow sheets blanket the ground outside. Try the oddly beautiful, “Misty.”
  • Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde (Fat Possum)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Chicago’s own Smith Westerns second album is well produced fuzzy and shimmery rock and roll affair. Smith Westerns continue a legacy of Chicago’s power pop bands, sprinkle in a bit of T. Rex glam, and come out with an all around winner. For the uninitiated, check out “Dance Away.”
  • Panda Bear – Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Panda Bear’s follow up to 2007’s Person Pitch continues the tradition of gently drifting multi layered songs. The reverbed vocals create a pleasant, moody, atmospheric feeling to go along with his solid melodies. To download, “Last Night At The Jetty.”
  • Cut Copy – Zonoscope (Modular Interscope)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Cut Copy use their cut and copy abilities to recreate the eighties synth pop years. Reminiscent of several good bands of the time, from OMD to Heaven 17, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this recent offering, well done. Grab your Ray Ban’s and pretend you’re in a John Hughes film. “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution” is a standout.
  • Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    eattle outfit Fleet Foxes sophomore effort is the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday morning. The Foxes effortlessly evoke the feel of early 70’s light rock bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash. Check out the warm vocal harmonies on the albums title track, “Helplessness Blues.”
  • Wooden Ships – West (Thrill Jockey)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Wooden Shjips always remind me of the psych rock from Loop or the Spacemen 3, and that’s never a bad thing. With droney, fuzzed out, spacey, noisey guitars, this is their brightest and best produced album to date. Love the opener, “Black Smoke Rise.”
  • The Horrors – Skying (XL)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    More mid-eighties retro with Skying. Listening to this, Simple Minds, Psychedelic Furs and the like jump to mind. The Horrors do it well. Check out “Still Life.”


Honorable Mentions

  • The Advisory Circle – As The Crow Flies (Ghost Box)
    The Bewitched Hands – Birds & Drums (Look Mum No Hands)
    The Naked And Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You (Fiction)
    St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (4AD)
    Wild Flag – Wild Flag (Merge)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2011

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesCHIRP Night at The Whistler: Holiday Edition

Tonight it’s a special “Weird Kids X-Mas” at the Whistler! Join CHIRP DJs Dustin Drase, Kumar McMillan, and Michael Flavor as they spin the kinds of weird and festive holiday records you will not hear anywhere else. And a portion of bar proceeds benefits CHIRP Radio!

The Whistler / 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave. / Monday December 19 / 9:30pm / No Cover / 21+

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Categorized: Event Previews

Topics: whistler

Caitlin Lavin writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2011 (Caitlin Lavin)

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2011. The next list is from Caitlin Lavin.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members’ picks.)

  • Belong – Common Era (kranky)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Considering where you read the reviews for this release (ahem, Pitchfork) This was one of the most underrated releases of the year. This album features some of the best elements of 1980’s shoegaze, synth-pop and noise from the echoed drums of Jesus & Mary Chain to the lurking bass lines of early Cure
  • Earth Girl Helen Brown – Story of an Earth Girl (Forest Family)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    A side project of Sonny “and the Sunsets” Smith, set up as a guise of unearthed recordings from “Earth Girl” Helen Brown, a girl who grew up in a cult outside of Athens, GA, that was recorded in the early ’90s. Featuring SF mainstays Kelley Stoltz, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees and Grace Cooper of the Sandwitches as Helen – it’s beach Pop w/ the dark humor story-telling one has come to expect From Sonny & the gang.
  • Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – Soul Time! (Daptone)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Ms. Jones and her guys squeak another record in at the end of the year to again make my top list! (Even though I’m sure they didn’t have me in mind.) Yet again, I am floored by sultry soul revival from this group, but this time there is much added funk to the mix. I don’t think there is anything this group can do wrong.
  • Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread (Drag City)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    The garage-pop master from San Francisco is back again, this time with is first full length from Drag City. While last year’s “Melted” had lean, economical fuzz-pop; this record invokes the likes of John Lennon and Marc Bolan to create a cleaner sound while still maintaining his punk intensity.
  • Mikal Cronin – self-titled (Trouble In Mind)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    It might be a little unfair to cast Mikal Cronin under the shadow of his colleague Ty Segall by calling this his debut self-release as the “Melted of 2011,” but the comparison is apt, and by no means negative. Full of layered garage pop tunes with sunny Beach-boy esque harmonies. Please keep releasing records like this, I just eat it up.
  • Shabazz Palaces – Black Up (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    WHAT?! A hip-hop record on Caitlin’s Top Ten list? Why, yes. This record, thanks to the influence of my boyfriend and CHIRP radio helped me to expand my mind a bit and let me know that – hey, remember you like hip hop? “Clear some space out so we can space out”
  • Shannon & the Clams – Sleep Talk (1-2-3-4 Go!)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    I think I can honestly say this was my favorite record of the year. or at least it’s the record that received the most spins from me. Do you remember that scene Back to the Future, when Marty McFly plays “Johnny B. Goode” at the 1950’s prom, and then ends up tearing up the stage? Take that image, mix it with a little bit of Ramones, Ronnie Spector and Beth Ditto – you get a sense of what Shannon & the Clams are all about.
  • Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream (In the Red)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    This SF group is one of my favorites over the past couple years, but their prolific recording doesn’t always rub me the right way – case in point, “Castlemania” from earlier this year. Carrion Crawler/The Dream is different, it encapsulates the band’s live sound – which is I’m glad to know they realize that’s the best part about them. Killer intensity, rockin’ sound.
  • tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L (4AD)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    Merrill and the gang deserve to have much praise of their record this year. It is eccentric, funky, soulful and downright infectious. Their penchant for face paint is also delightful.
  • Wild Flag – Wild Flag (Merge)
    BUY: Insound / iTunes
    My most anticipated record of the year turned out to be what I had hoped for, as I was a fan of both Sleater-Kinney and Helium. I first saw Wild Flag this year at the SXSW NPR day party and they rocked my socks off. Pure, fun-loving rock n’ roll.


Honorable Mentions

  • Girls Names – Dead To Me (Slumberland)
    Lady Gaga – Born This Way (Interscope)…SERIOUSLY.
    Low – C’mon (Sub Pop)
    Razika – Program 91 (Smalltown Supersound)
    Sex Church – Growing Over (Load)
    JEFF the Brotherhood – We Are the Champions (Infinity Cat)
    Terror Bird – Human Culture (Night People)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2011

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Holidays Edition

The shuffle will be taking a two week break with the upcoming holidays, so there’s no tribute to anyone in particular, but instead best wishes for a happy holiday season and great 2012. In the meantime, let’s fire up the iPod or MP3 player one more time and share the first 10 songs that come up.

Keep Reading…

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, mp3

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